One particular subspecialty in Medicine and Surgery that has really shown so much advances in the last 10 years is the field of Otorhinolaryngology (ORL). It’s actually one of the subspecialties with the widest scope of practice, and it’s just expected that from it sub-subspecialties would arise, as it had.
The main organization of ORL experts in the country is the Philippine Society of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (PSO-HNS), and under it are nine subspecialty organizations, namely, the Philippine Academy for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (PAFPRS), Philippine Academy of Laryngobrochoesophagology and Phoniatrics (PALPP), Academy of Head and Neck Oncologists of the Philippines (AHNOP), Philippine Academy of Neurotology , Otology, and Related Sciences (PANORS), Philippine Academy of Rhinology (PAR), Philippine Academy of Pediatric Otolaryngology (PAPO), Philippine Academy Of Craniomaxillofacial Surgery (PACMFS), The Philippine Academy of Audiology (PAAud), and The Philippine Academy of Sleep Surgery (PASS).
With a vast array of ear, nose and throat problems which are prevalent in the country, the members of PSOHNS need to work as hard as they actually do now to cover for the ORL needs of our population of more than a hundred million. Considering that there are less than 700 registered ORL surgeons in the Philippines who have been adequately trained and properly certified by the PSO-HNS as experts, we’re looking at a ratio of one ORL expert for every 150,000 Filipinos.
I’m not knowledgeable on what the ideal ratio should be, but from where I look, this seems like the Philippines is still undermanned in terms of experts who could peel off nasal polyps, clear sinuses, repair broken ear drums, excise vocal cord nodules, and perform the delicate surgery of cleaning up the head and neck area of various malignancies.
The head and neck area, particularly the face, also usually takes the brunt of the injury during a vehicular accident, and other types of mishaps. Thank God we have 623 super-specialized experts who can do reconstructive surgery and probably enhance one’s facial features, better than its original look before the accident.
At the least though, after undergoing reconstructive surgery courtesy of one of the PSO-HNS/PAFPRS certified experts, an accident victim can still expect to see a face in the mirror that doesn’t look as mangled as it was immediately after the mishap.
I’m sure in the eyes of the trauma victims, whose facial injuries have been reconstructed and their selfconfidence restored, these ORL experts are like the ‘Marvel superheroes’ who have saved their world for them.
We feature these ORL ‘superheroes’ in this issue of H&L, and in our own small way, give them the recognition they truly deserve.
RAFAEL R. CASTILLO, MD